Alpha Kappa Alpha Demands Justice for the Jena 6
Westview Middle School Student Dies from Head Injury at School

How the Black Blogosphere Has Driven the Jena 6 Protest

Today, protesters will descend upon Jena, Louisiana by the thousands. Those unable to attend in person will wear black to symbolize support for the Jena 6 and unity with the marchers. The awesome significance of this latest demonstration may be lost on many but is captured by Howard Witt's latest article in the Chicago Tribune. Do click here to check it out. You see, the methodology of civil rights protest has forever changed and the internet is the reason for the paradigm shift.

I joined a group of bloggers, the Afrosphere Jena 6 Coalition, in the Day of Blogging for Justice back on August 29. I've never met these folks in person or even talked to any of them on the telephone but the positive change effected, without a "meeting", was awesome. Witt is so correct in framing the position of traditional civil rights leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and organizations like the NAACP. For them, the Jena 6 issue was a game of catch up.

Well before the traditional civil rights leaders got involved, folks like Yobachi over at Black Perspective and Villager at the Electronic Village had sent up the drum call to black bloggers and black bloggers answered. Similar actions were the reason Paris, Texas teen, Shaquanda Cotton was released.

I will not be in Jena, Louisiana today and I will try to keep abreast of the day's happenings. Most definitely I am wearing black. I send up prayers of love and peace for those who make the journey to Jena.

Here's an excerpt of Howard Witt's article...


Bloggers inspire new civil rights wave

Jena 6 protest nurtured on Web

By Howard Witt

Tribune senior correspondent

September 19, 2007


There is no single leader. There is no agreed schedule. Organizers aren't even certain where everyone is supposed to gather, let alone use the restroom. The only thing that is known for sure is that thousands of protesters are boarding buses at churches, colleges and community centers across the country this week, headed for this tiny dot on the map of central Louisiana.

What could turn out to be one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in years is set to take place here Thursday, when Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, popular black radio talk show hosts and other celebrities converge in Jena to protest what they regard as unequal treatment of African-Americans in this racially fractured Deep South town.

Yet this will be a civil rights protest literally conjured out of the ether of cyberspace, of a type that has never happened before in America -- a collective national mass action grown from a grass-roots word-of-mouth movement spread via blogs, e-mails, message boards and talk radio.

Jackson, Sharpton and other big-name civil rights figures, far from leading this movement, have had to scramble to catch up. So have the national media.

As formidable as it is amorphous, this new African-American blogosphere, which scarcely even existed a year ago, now includes hundreds of interlinked blogs and tens of thousands of followers who within a matter of a few weeks collected 220,000 petition signatures -- and more than $130,000 in donations for legal fees -- in support of six black Jena teenagers who are being prosecuted on felony battery charges for beating a white student. [Click here to read more…]

Related links:

Chicago Tribune articles on the Jena 6 case: Trouble in Jena


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.